Alex Conover - Northstar Hoops Report

Gopher Basketball Insider: What's next?

The final weekend of the open period is primarily in Las Vegas and the Minnesota coaching staff will spread across the city watching all of their targets compete. What are some things to know going into the final week? GI catches you up with our Insider Notes.

The final weekend of the open period is primarily in Las Vegas and the Minnesota coaching staff will spread across the city watching all of their targets compete.  What are some things to know going into the final week? GI catches you up with our Insider Notes.

Next Up?

If or when Minnesota offers another local target his name will most likely be Jarvis Thomas, a 6-foot-6 power forward from Orono High School and D1 Minnesota.  Thomas is an explosive 2018 talent who has recently picked up offers from Oregon State and Iowa State.  GI has learned that Minnesota will be watching him very closely over the next several months.

Why Thomas?  His explosive bounce and strong frame.  Jarvis is a power forward at 6-foot-6 and while that is not the ideal height for the position, the Gophers have an All Big Ten potential four man at the same size (Jordan Murphy) and Jarvis has similar explosive traits. Last Friday Thomas caught a one hand alley-oop and finished it jumping over an opponent.  There watching were coaches from Minnesota, Iowa State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and several others. It was plays like that which have put Thomas on the map.

Jarvis gave Tartan 11 points a game last year as a sophomore starting at center on a 23-5 team with D1 offered guard Jordan Horn.  Thomas has since transfer to Orono High School on the other side of the metro which is the same school that has produced NBA player Jon Leuer and Badger walk-on Jordan Smith.

Where Are They on Wright?

McKinley Wright, the guy viewed as one of the most important Gopher recruits because he is a point guard, he is talented, he is local, and he is beloved by many of his teammates whom the Gophers are also targeting.

This past weekend Minnesota Head Coach Richard Pitino and assistant Ben Johnson joined Dayton Head Coach Archie Miller and assistant Tom Ostrom at all of Wright’s Summer Showcase games.  Between those coaches somebody was always in the crowd to watch McKinley and his teammates.  Wright is a Plan A for both of those programs.

But what about the others?  Texas had an assistant at all the games, Iowa State Head Coach Steve Prohm and an assistant were there (both, or one of them) at all the games, but as of yet nobody has mentioned an Xavier coach being in attendance and we know they weren’t there when GI was in attendance.

Where does McKinley stand with these programs?  Iowa State seems to be hard after Wright but where does he stand for them?  They are making a strong push also for Collin Sexton and Darius Perry as well as Wright although who ranks where on their target list we are not sure.  Sexton recently released a top ten that included Iowa State, Arizona, North Carolina, Kansas, and defending national champion Villanova.

Perry, a player previously offered by Richard Pitino, is hearing strongly now from Richard's father Rick Pitino in addition to Iowa State and several others.  Richard is  now focused on Wright, Isaiah Washington, and Wabissa Bede.   So between Perry, Sexton, Wright, Zach Bryant, and Nick Weatherspoon (who recently listed them among other four programs he's looking at visiting), the Cyclones are after several talented targets.

Xavier has been after four star Quade Green for a long time but big guard Paul Scruggs is the man that they have been after heavily as a lead guard.  In fact, they opened the recent open period with a full staff (as many as allowed) at his first games.  How about Texas? Shaka Smart was not in the Twin Cities to see Wright or Jericho who is the guy they are really hard after.  Texas had five star guard Trae Young (the player that torched Howard Pulley for 35 points at the Peach Jam) in for a visit in June and they had Matt Coleman in for a visit.

Right now for McKinley Wright it seems Dayton and Minnesota are the lead horses with Iowa State right there as well.

Quick Hitters

  • Theo John sat out much of the NY2LA event last weekend with an ankle injury.  Teams that were said to be there to see him play early in the week before the injury?  Head Coaches from Minnesota and Marquette were most regular.  Oklahoma and Purdue are two other programs most often mentioned with Theo but they didn’t have the presence at his games that Minnesota and Marquette did.  Purdue has put much of their frontcourt recruiting efforts into five star Jaren Jackson, top 50 Malik Williams, and now 6-8, 275 pound Evan Battey. Theo visited Purdue unofficially last month.
  • Who is putting in the most effort in recruiting four star guard Isaiah Washington in addition to Minnesota?  Seton Hall, VCU, and Butler are the programs we’ve heard that have been in the gyms to see him the most.  Isaiah visited Minnesota last month unofficially and word is they want to get him back on campus officially in the early fall.
  • Recently offered point guard Wabissa Bede continues his fantastic summer.  After winning the Adidas Finale title he earned the MVP of the Peach State event scoring 15 points in the final of that tournament.  We hear that Minnesota, Butler, Dayton, and Rhode Island had the biggest coaching group following him this open period.
  • Evan Daniels of talked to small forward Terrence Lewis after he led his Playground Elite team to the NY2LA Summer Jam championship beating Howard Pulley (who was without Theo John and Gary Trent Jr).  Lewis told Daniels that he plans to visit UNLV, Oregon, Xavier, Iowa State, and maybe Illinois or Miami.  Minnesota has been following him this month regularly but he did not mention the Gophers.  The Gophers are after lead guards and frontcourt players the most with their two scholarships.
  • Guard target Jamir Harris was the third leading scorer at the Victor Oladipo Skills Academy last weekend averaging 17 points which included an outstanding 18 of 37 from the three point arc (48.6 percent).  He was taking nine of his dozen shots a game from the arc and making roughly half. Pitino was front and center for Jamir's best games. 
  • Richard Pitino watched point guard Marcus Carr in Milwaukee last weekend.  Carr is listed as a 2017 lead guard and he’s recently earned offers from Pitt, Cincinnati, and Valpo plus Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, and a few others have been following.  Carr was one of the best players at the Adidas Invitational two weeks back in Indianapolis and had a nice showing in Milwaukee as well.
  • A name to add to this list of potential targets for the Gophers is 6-foot-6 wing Nana Akenten.  Nate Pomeday of Minnesota watched his Illinois Celtics play last week and Pomeday was joined by other staff members this week to see Nana.  Valpo, Bradley, and Duquesne recently offered while UNLV, Texas A&M, SMU, Minnesota, and Kansas State have all called on Nana.

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